Jutting 5892 feet into the air above the forested slopes of the surrounding hillsides, Sunrise Peak’s rocky summit offers enterprising hikers some of the best early morning views of Mount Adams you can get in the state. If a sunrise hike is a tall order, don’t worry. The views from Sunrise Peak are marvelous all day. Whether it’s a cloudless sky, or fog shrouds the hillsides, you want to make sure you have your camera for this hike.
Though it’s only a mile and a half to the summit, the trail is steep and in some places the tread is in less-than-optimal condition. Fortunately, plentiful vistas and overlooks make good places to catch your breath. Begin from the small parking lot, taking the trail that heads southwest along the shoulder of Sunrise Peak. The trail gets right down to business as you head uphill and into the dark forest. As you gain elevation, the close forest gives way to more open trees with wildflowers: beargrass, indian paintbrush, lupine, and yarrow, to highlight a few.
After a little more than a half mile of hiking, break out onto a flat section of trail with a big view. Mount Adams dominates the horizon to the south. Looking straight ahead, you can see Jumbo Peak, unmistakable with its jauntily tilted summit block. The panoramas here are incredible, and they’re only going to get better.
Proceed down the trail about 0.2 miles to a signed junction. Though both trails eventually reach the summit of Sunrise, take the righthand trail—which is hiker-only—and begin the second half of your climb. You'll wade through meadows full of beargrass or huckleberries, depending on the season. Views of Adams improve and your vantage of Jumbo Peak changes with every step you take. As you head northeast, the flattish summit of McCoy Peak appears across the valley. Let your mind wander as you consider the hiking possibilities on the ridge across the way.
After half a mile of climbing, arrive at another trail junction. The hiker-only route is well indicated here. You’re on the last stretch! It’s four tight switchbacks to a viewpoint just below the summit of Sunrise.
The last push to the summit is more of a scramble. There is a handrail (there used to be a lookout here, after all) but regardless, be careful when making for the tip-top—it’s a sheer drop from the other side of the handrail.
On top, you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views including Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Hood, and the Goat Rocks. Closer in, you can see McCoy, Langille, Craggy, and Juniper Peaks, as well as Shark Rock and Table Mountain.
You can explore this ridgeline by heading north to Juniper Peak (3 miles from Sunrise’s summit) or south to Jumbo Peak (2.4 miles from the summit). Either route pays off in excellent vistas, but the trail to Juniper Peak is in rougher shape than that on the way to Jumbo.
WTA Pro Tip: There are very few water sources here; the trail stays above most creeks or streams. If you decide to visit, be prepared to pack in as much water as you need for your trip.
- 3.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 1,400 feet
- Highest Point
- 5,892 feet
Hiking Sunrise Peak
Map & Directions
Co-ordinates: 46.3354, -121.7434 Open in Google Maps